While the hospital environment can be intimidating for most people, local musicians are helping to change that.
“There’s definitely been a positive effect on some patients,” said David Batten, who stresses he’s not a licensed music therapist – just someone who enjoys helping patients and playing music.
“I look at their toes to see if their toes are moving, says Anne Cable. “If their toes are moving, I tell them they’re dancing.”
Anne and Dave are volunteers with the MMH Music Therapy program and have been serving Montrose patients since September 2018. The program does not involve certified “music therapy” musicians but utilizes local musicians for receptive music therapy, whereby clients are recipients of the melodic experience. The program provides a healing environment for patients and helps raise a patient’s spirits when they are not feeling communicative. The program is entirely sustained by volunteer musicians who come to the hospital to serve patients in their time of great need.
The MMH Music Therapy program began earlier this year after the hospital identified that it could improve the patient experience. The feedback from patients and their families has been positive. “Lots of people have thanked us,” says David. “One person found us after we had stopped playing, and told us their father had clearly relaxed when we played for them.”
Anna and David are among a small group of volunteers who provide this service at the hospital. Other volunteers in the program include Robin Freed, Marv Ballantyne, Mary Loncar, Anne Harper, Carlin Knight, Sharon Rasmussen and Debi Saliman. The hospital is looking for more local musicians to add to their music therapy program, with no prior “music therapy” experience required. Interested parties can contact Montrose Memorial Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Beth McCorkle at (970) 240-7341.
Participants in the program enjoy bringing the peaceful environment to patients. “It’s fun,” adds Anne.